With sponsorship from hardware and software vendor partners, competing student teams design and build small clusters, learn scientific applications, and apply optimization techniques for their chosen architectures in a non-stop, 48-hour challenge.
Student Cluster Competition ScheduleMonday–Wednesday, November 13–15, 2023
Student Cluster Competition ChairJenett Tillotson, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Student Cluster Competition (SCC) Applications open March 1, 2023.
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Webinars are tailored for SCC23 participants. The two most recent videos will appear here. Future webinars will be added to the YouTube playlist as they become available.
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Boston University, Brown University, UMass Boston, United States
Clemson University, United States
New York University, United States
University of California, San Diego, United States
University of Kansas, United States
University of New Mexico, United States
ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Peking University, China
ShanghaiTech University, China
Tsinghua University, China
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Learn more about the 11 teams competing in this year’s competition.
The Student Cluster Competition (SCC) began in 2007 to provide an immersive high performance computing experience to undergraduate and high school students. The goal of the competition is to foster interest and experience in HPC for students. The SCC includes components that reflect current, real-world considerations and challenges encountered by HPC professionals.
Violation of any rule may result in a team’s disqualification from the competition, or point penalization, at the discretion of the SCC committee. Any unethical conduct not otherwise covered in these rules will also be penalized at the discretion of the SCC Committee. All decisions are the sole discretion of the SCC Committee and decisions concerning the rules in a given situation are final.
Equipment configurations, booth layout, and booth occupancy are always subject to safety as first consideration. If a task cannot be done safely, then it is unacceptable. When in doubt, ask an SCC supervisor or team liaison.
Teams are composed of six students, an advisor, and vendor partners:
Teams can optionally nominate up to two “logistics coordinators” who are secondary advisors or other support staff who should receive a copy of any communications sent to the primary advisor.
Teams will be invited to participate based on their Team Application, submitted via the SC Submission System. The Team Application includes a description of the team, the proposed hardware and software that will make up their cluster, and their approach to the competition. The SCC Committee reviews each proposal and provides comments for all submissions. The team composition and proposed hardware and software must all conform to the rules described below.
Student Team Members must:
Teams are encouraged to include diverse participation including new participants and under-represented groups. To encourage new participants and help new teams participate, half of the students making up any team must be first-time participants in the SCC.
During preparation for the competition, the Team Advisor, vendor partners and other supporters are encouraged to help the team train for the competition. However, only the six registered team members will have access to the cloud-based computational resources during the training period.
Teams must conduct themselves professionally and adhere to the Code of Conduct. Students must compete fairly and ethically.
The two fundamental hardware requirements for team clusters are that they are able to run the applications and exercises of the competition, and that they can operate within the power draw limits described below. Hardware must also meet the following constraints:
Further mandatory events will be announced at a later date.
Part of the requirements for SCC23 is for you to create a poster about your team. The poster should be in an academic format and will be on display for the entire competition. There will not be a poster session, but the poster will be judged, and the score will be included in your team’s overall score. A copy of the judging rubric is included below.
Due to lead times required for printing, the final print-ready version of the poster must be submitted not later than 10 September 2023. Failure to submit your final poster by the deadline will result in no points being awarded for the poster component of the competition.
Introduction to the Team and School
What is the composition of the team? How does team member diversity (skillset, majors, cultural background, etc) strengthen the team? Are all team members making valuable contributions to the success of the team?
Description of Hardware and Software with Rationale
Which technologies were selected (hardware, software, interconnect, etc) and why are they a good choice for this specific competition? In addition to your physical cluster, discuss your cloud configuration as well.
Preparation and Strategy
What are your optimization strategies for the applications? What are your team/time management strategies? How are you planning to leverage your hardware and cloud resources? How are you planning to handle the dynamic power limit? How does your preparation and planning support your success in the competition? Why will your team win?
Is the poster in compliance with the printing requirements? Is the poster visually appealing? Is the text well-written and error-free? Does the poster effectively communicate the content using both text and images? Does the technical content demonstrate a deep understanding of the team and systems?
The SCC is looking for scientific applications from the HPC community that could be used as the SCC Mystery Application. If you have a scientific application that you think would be a great fit for the competition, please consider submitting.
The application should not have export control restrictions and must have up-to-date documentation. Submissions and selections must be kept confidential until the beginning of the SCC when the mystery application selected will be revealed.
Each submission must list an application owner who will:
Applications Open March 1–May 31, 2023
MAR 1, 2023
MAY 15, 2023
JUN 15, 2023
Teams are composed of six students, an advisor, and vendor partners. The advisor provides guidance and recommendations, the vendor provides the resources (hardware and software), and the students provide the skill and enthusiasm. Students work with their advisors to craft a proposal that describes the team, the suggested hardware, and their approach to the competition. The SCC committee reviews each proposal and provides comments for all submissions. The requirements for teams are described more completely below.
Team clusters should be able to run the competition’s applications and exercises without exceeding a fixed power limit. This year the competition will include a fixed power limit of 4000W for the computational components of the cluster with an extra 500W for networking hardware for a total of 4500W. Hardware requirements are described more completely in the SCC Rules.
Selected teams receive full conference registration for each team member and one advisor. Each team is also provided with seven single-occupancy hotel rooms for the students and advisor. As the competition is part of the Students@SC program, students can also participate in Mentor–Protégé Matching and the Job Fair. Travel to the conference and per diem are not provided.
One of the applications presented to the student teams is the Reproducibility Challenge, in which students attempt to reproduce results from an accepted paper from the prior year’s Technical Program.
Students have the opportunity to interact directly with the paper’s authors as they attempt to reproduce specific results and conclusions from the paper. As part of this challenge, each student team writes a reproducibility report detailing their experience in reproducing the results from the paper. Authors of the most highly rated reproducibility reports may be invited to submit their reports to a reproducibility special issue.
High-Performance Linpack (HPL)The HPL benchmark solves a (random) dense linear system in double precision arithmetic. It is often used to measure the peak performance of a computer or that of a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster. The ranking of the TOP500 supercomputers in the world is determined by their performances with the HPL benchmark.
Read more: https://netlib.org/benchmark/hpl/
HPC Conjugate Gradient (HPCG)The HPCG benchmark uses a preconditioned conjugate gradient (PCG) algorithm to measure the performance of HPC platforms with respect to frequently observed but challenging patterns of computing, communication, and memory access. While HPL provides an optimistic performance target for applications, HPCG can be considered as a lower bound on performance. Many of the top 500 supercomputers also provide their HPCG performance as a reference.
Read more: https://www.hpcg-benchmark.org/
MLPerf InferenceMachine Learning (ML) is increasingly being used in many scientific domains for making groundbreaking innovations. MLPerf Inference is a benchmark suite for measuring how fast systems can run models in a variety of deployment scenarios. The key motivations behind this benchmark is to measure ML-system performance in an architecture-neutral, representative, and reproducible manner.
Read more: https://mlcommons.org/en/inference-datacenter-30/
The STREAM benchmark is a simple synthetic benchmark that measures sustainable memory bandwidth and the corresponding computation rate for simple vector kernels. It is designed to work with datasets that are much larger than the available cache on a processor and is, therefore, indicative of the performance of very large, vector style applications.
Read more: https://www.cs.virginia.edu/stream/
The OSU micro-benchmarks consist of a collection of MPI benchmarks that measure the performances of various MPI operations. These are broadly grouped into three benchmark types—i) point-to-point, ii) collective, and iii) one-sided. We will focus on point-to-point MPI benchmarks such as osu_latency and osu_bandwidth.
Read more: https://mvapich.cse.ohio-state.edu/benchmarks/
MPAS (Atmosphere Core)The Model for Prediction Across Scales—Atmosphere (MPAS-A) is an atmospheric simulation model for use in climate, regional climate, and weather research. MPAS-A supports global and limited-area domains with horizontal resolution from O(100) km down to O(1) km or less, and it employs unstructured meshes known as centroidal Voronoi tessellations (CVTs). The model consists of a dynamical core, which handles the resolved-scale equations of motion, as well as parameterizations of additional physical processes. MPAS-A is developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and it shares software infrastructure that was co-developed with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Key software characteristics of MPAS-A:
Homepage in NCAR’s MMM Lab: https://www.mmm.ucar.edu/models/mpas
Source code repository: https://github.com/MPAS-Dev/MPAS-Model
3DMHD (Three-Dimensional Magneto Hydro Dynamic)This is a numerical simulation, written in Fortran with MPI, to study the descent of cold and dense plumes in a stratified layer. Such simulations are important to understanding dynamics of plume development in regards to thermal and magnetic forces inside of stars.
Source code repository: https://github.com/dsmithlasp/Rast-3dmhd
The Student Cluster Competition (SCC) was developed in 2007 to provide an immersive high performance computing experience to undergraduate and high school students.
For more information about SCC in past years, including team profiles, photos, winners, and more:
Create an account in the online submission system and complete the form. A sample form can be viewed before signing in.
If you have questions about SCC applications, please contact the program committee.
A cluster competition with the intent to create a more inclusive and education-focused track of the Student Cluster Competition.